Steven Stamkos blasted the game-winning goal at 2:36 of overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning stretched their season-long winning streak to four games in a 3-2 victory over the host Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
With the scored tied at 2, Stamkos nearly scored on a breakway, but Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm went off for high sticking on the play, putting the Lightning on a deadly four-on-three power play.
After winning the draw and passing a few times around the three Predators defenders, Stamkos hammered a one-timer from the high slot — his 10th tally — to move the Lightning to 5-2-0 in their past seven games.
Nikita Kucherov, who assisted on the winning shot, scored a goal and had two helpers. Alex Killorn netted a goal, Brayden Point had two assists and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots.
Nashville’s Filip Forsberg and Nino Niederreiter had markers. Juuse Saros allowed three goals on 39 shots as the Predators fell to 2-8-1 in their past 11 matches against Tampa Bay.
In the first matchup in Nashville since the NHL Stadium Series matchup on Feb. 26 at the Tennessee Titans’ stadium, the Predators took advantage in the first two minutes of a tripping penalty by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman.
Slotting 29th in the league on the power play, Nashville connected for the 11th time in 64 chances at 1:50. Forsberg blasted home his seventh goal from above the left circle for an early lead.
In a stellar showing over the first 20 minutes, Saros shut down all 18 shots by the Lightning. His most impressive was a point-blank try by Point, who skated in and tried to score in close with 24 seconds left. Vasilevskiy nearly equaled, stopping 11 of 12 he faced.
On the power play, Tampa Bay was able to solve Saros 4:25 into the second to knot the game at 1. Kucherov tallied for the 10th time when he took a drop pass in the neutral zone from Point, skated into the slot and beat Saros on the blocker side.
In the third, Niederreiter won a battle along the half-boards and zipped in the go-ahead marker at 5:04 for a 2-1 advantage. Killorn evened it again with his sixth tally with 3:21 remaining to create the overtime session.
–Field Level Media